Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Aloha to My Cousin Jan

Hibiscus photo courtesy of Robert Mepham

My cousin Jan passed away in the early morning hours on Sunday,  August 31, 2014. Her sister Pati was by her side. In the ten plus years since Jan was diagnosed with a very rare form of neuroendicrine carcinoid cancer Jan has been a source of strength and guidance for many newly diagnosed cancer patients and has started support groups in Los Angeles (Glendale to South Bay) and down the coast to north county San Diego. She has given countless hours of advice to fellow cancer patients and their families and been a cheerleader to raise funds and awareness for this rare form of cancer. Her sister sent this email to the family:  
"I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!"
"Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "Here she comes!"
And that is dying." (Henry Van Dyke)

  This photo was taken   August 23, 1981, on my wedding day.  I am pictured with my siblings and my cousins. Jan is on the far right. 
From left to right cousin Pati, my brother, me, my sister, cousins Ann and Jan 
I chose this photo because it is how I best remember Jan. She was a rebel, a fiercely independent family member. When she was 18 her parents gifted her with a trip to Hawaii. She always proudly said "They gave me a trip to Hawaii for my high school graduation and I never came back."  That was partially true. She made her life there for 20 years and returned to Southern California to take care of her mother after her father had passed away.  Jan used her determination and strength  to great advantage in her later years.  After being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer she devoted the rest of her life to helping other cancer victims and their families.  She always put others first,  often to the detriment of her own well being but her heart was big and generous and filled with love for others.  She had a winning smile and was a kind and loving member of our family. 
It is of great consolation to know that Jan is no longer suffering and has joined so many of our family's loved ones in heaven.

Jan always kept the Hawaiian Islands and the aloha spirit inside her heart.  This next photo represents her home life on the islands. She lived in almost this exact spot on the island of Oahu.  I'm sure her spirit now soars over this lovely bit of paradise.  

Aloha Jan  

Your generous and most kind spirit lives on in our memories.

Janice Rae Naritomi-Hart 

 January 3, 1951 to August 31, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy 26th Birthday Athena


This is a little something I found recently from Athena

"Date: Thursday, April 9, 2009, 3:26 AM
Hi mom,
Just had some happy thoughts: Remember those huge Katella Deli cookies with sprinkles that you used to buy me? Oh...I love those! I just thought about them. And remember how I used to always order chicken tenders wherever we would go out to eat...even at mexican food places.  And remember when you used to let Aria and I wrap scarves around your knees, drawing smiles and batty eyelashes with your lipstick? I was also thinking about how nice it was when we would go to McDonald's after my morning Kindergarten classes. I was thinking about our trips to Mother's Bay and how sweet it was. Oh my,and helping Aria's Girl Scout troup sell cookies. I had a very happy childhood. 

Thank you mom."

It has been a gift to watch you grow up.  Twenty-six years went by all too fast but what fun we shared.  Here's a little look at some of our fun times as you grew up before our eyes. 

It was a hot labor day weekend when we brought you home.

You were always a happy little kid

Well, almost always...

Lots of summer vacations home to visit dads family in Ohio

Home for Uncle Rock and Aunt Mary's wedding

Lots of summers at the bay

Nature Center walks

Family game night with your favorite game. 
 (If anyone else picked the pepperoni card you'd say "I don't want to play anymore!"

Aria gave you your first thrill ride!

We did a lot of camping trips

So many many Halloween costumes

Just being together was always fun.  "FAMILY"
Helping dad make pizza was a great beginning for you. Now you are an expert!

Always a little poser

 Holiday pumpkin carving

Decorating Xmas Gingerbread houses

Putting barbies to bed

All those birthday parties were so much fun

The beginning of your surfing days started with a boogie board from Target

We loved our summer   vacations



Can't forget our trips to Knotts Berry Farm and of course
Our Yearly passes to Disneyland. What a treat to pick you up from school and head to the happiest place on earth.  Those were the days!

Then there were all those years of organized sports. LBYSO soccer, and seasons of Heartwell park, softball, basketball and indoor soccer and volleyball.  

Many many wonderful memories we share together Athena.  What a gift you are to us. A loving beautiful daughter.  It's been a true joy being your parent. 

 Here's to many more years of happy times together.  
Wishing you even greater joys than you have known before.

I love you Athena! 
"Happy Happy 26th year!"

Love, Mom

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Those Were The Days My Friend

We thought they'd never end
Life Magazine 1969

Friday, August 29, 2014

More On Bikes

"There's a certain amount of romance to bikes. They're both beautiful and utilitarian." - Dave Eggars

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